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Best candidate relationship management tools for recruiters

Discover the best recruiting CRM software and find the right fit for your team. Check out features, pros and cons, pricing, and more!
Last update
May 27, 2024
Best candidate relationship management tools for recruiters
Doriane Stagnol
Best candidate relationship management tools for recruiters

Recruiting is tough, and finding the tools to keep up with your candidates can be even tougher. That's exactly why Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) software is a game-changer. Confused about how CRMs differ from those Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) you've been using? Or maybe you're on the lookout for the best candidate relationship management tools to upgrade your recruitment process? Either way, this guide is here to clear things up.

Here's what we're diving into:

  • Unpacking what CRM software is all about.
  • Highlighting the standout features of CRMs versus the traditional ATS.
  • Running through the top 7 CRM tools that are changing the game for recruiters and employers in 2024.

If you're ready to streamline how you connect with candidates and make your hiring process smoother, stick around. You’ll learn how to pick the right CRM and why combining it with an ATS could be your best move yet.

What is a candidate relationship management software?

CRM software is like a toolkit for employers and recruiters. It helps you keep in touch with potential hires, making sure you're on their radar even before they apply for a job. CRM tools ensure that every applicant feels valued from the moment they express interest.

It's all about building a relationship with them, storing all their info in one place so you can engage with them effectively and personally.

The key features of a CRM

CRM software comes packed with features that make your hiring process easier:

  • Automated messages: Keep candidates updated automatically.
  • Organize candidates: Sort them by skills, interest level, and more.
  • Insights: Get a clear view of how your recruitment efforts are doing.
  • Easy application: Candidates can easily jump into your talent pool.

These features are designed to save you time and keep candidates engaged. Using CRM software also helps build a positive first impression, laying the foundation for long-term employee satisfaction.

How's it different from an ATS?

While ATS helps sort through applications and hire candidates, it also plays a significant role in upholding and promoting the employer's brand through the career page management. ATS not only simplifies the application process but also helps in the smooth transition of candidates to employees, ensuring a good fit for the company culture.

CRM software, on the other hand, nurtures relationships. It keeps potential hires engaged instead of sorting and tracking them reactively like an ATS. Basically, the ATS is for managing applicants and internal hiring logistics (like interviews), while CRM is for building a talent pool - cultivating connections and maintaining interest. 

For a closer look at how CRM differs from ATS and why you might use both, check out our article: ATS or CRM: What's the Best for Recruitment?

Top 7 best CRM for recruiters


Leonar takes the complexity out of recruitment with its easy-to-use interface and powerful automation tools. It’s designed to make communication with candidates as seamless as possible, ensuring they stay engaged from first contact to final hire. 

Leonar’s standout feature is its ability to learn from real-time analytics on applicant engagement, allowing recruiters to tailor their approach for maximum effectiveness. With its comprehensive candidate management system, Leonar is perfect for employers looking to build strong, lasting relationships with potential hires.

With Leonar, you'll get a whole bunch of powerful features to make hiring easier:

  • Multichannel messaging sequences that can be automated
  • Powered filtering & matching capabilities to save time sourcing
  • Interface with your current Applicant Tracking System and Linkedin
  • Talent nurturing and talent pool management
  • AI-powered technology


GEM is a powerhouse when it comes to recruitment analytics and sourcing. Its ability to track interactions across multiple platforms gives employers a detailed overview of their pipeline, making it easier to identify bottlenecks and optimize strategies. 

GEM's automation features save time on outreach, while its robust analytics tools offer insights into the effectiveness of communication strategies. GEM is mostly used by large companies and data-driven teams that want to learn from comprehensive analytics. 

Looking for GEM alternatives? Check our article "5 of the Top GEM Alternatives for Recruiters in 2024" to compare pricing, features, and reviews.


Bullhorn is renowned for its extensive feature set and scalability, catering to recruitment agencies and in-house teams of all sizes. Its strength lies in its integration capabilities, allowing it to work seamlessly with LinkedIn, job boards, and other hiring tools. 

Bullhorn streamlines the entire recruitment process, from candidate sourcing to placement, and its cloud-based system ensures that all team members have access to up-to-date candidate information. For employers seeking a comprehensive CRM solution that can grow with their business, Bullhorn is a top contender.

LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter taps into the world's largest professional network, giving employers unparalleled access to candidates. It excels in advanced search capabilities and targeted messaging, making it easier to reach passive candidates who match specific criteria.

LinkedIn Recruiter also offers valuable insights into how job postings perform, which can help refine recruitment strategies. For employers who prioritize access to a vast network and precise targeting, LinkedIn Recruiter is an invaluable tool.

While LinkedIn Recruiter offers many search and messaging features, it's worthwhile to note the limitations, like messaging caps and relying on InMail. It's also hard to nurture talent. To get around these limitations, recruiters can use CRM systems like Leonar, which further empower them to stay in touch with candidates.


HireEZ, with its AI-driven sourcing and engagement tools, is designed to accelerate the recruitment process. It scours the internet to find candidates who match specific job requirements, bringing efficiency to talent acquisition. 

HireEZ's AI algorithms also help employers in prioritizing candidates who are more likely to be interested in a position, thereby increasing the chances of successful engagement.


HireFlow is all about making hiring as straightforward as possible. Its intuitive interface allows recruiters to manage candidate relationships without getting bogged down in complex workflows. HireFlow emphasizes personalized communication, enabling recruiters to send tailored messages that resonate with candidates. 

Its feature set focuses on keeping candidates engaged throughout the hiring process, ensuring a positive experience for both recruiters and job seekers. For employers seeking a user-friendly CRM that simplifies candidate engagement, HireFlow is a strong choice.


Initially designed for sales teams, Folk is more of a Customer Relationship management tool than a candidate management tool.But it sets itself apart with its flexible platform that adapts to the unique needs of each recruitment team. It encourages collaboration, allowing team members to share insights and updates on candidates seamlessly. 

Folk's customization options mean that it can be tailored to fit specific recruitment processes, making it as efficient as possible for its users. Its focus on team collaboration and customization makes Folk ideal for hiring teams looking for a CRM that can be personalized to their workflow.

Can ATS work as a candidate relationship management tool ?

Limited filtering capabilities

ATS are great for organizing applications and filtering candidates based on their resumes. But when it comes to maintaining relationships with candidates, their filtering falls short. In ATS systems, segmentation options aren't as sophisticated as CRM tools, so it's hard to re-engage previous candidates for new jobs. Because of this limitation, valuable talent might slip through the cracks because they're harder to find. In the end, this results in you missing out on potential talented employees.

Lack of tracking for previous messages

Communication is a key component of effective relationship management. In most ATS systems, past interactions with candidates can't be easily accessed for future reference. This gap makes it hard to build on past conversations, understand a candidate's concerns, or create a tailored follow-up plan. Recruiters miss out on a chance to deepen relationships with potential hires, potentially affecting how they view the employer and how they feel about it.

Limits in message sequences

Some ATS systems allow basic email communication, but they don't have the sophistication to handle complex message sequences or automated nurturing campaigns based on candidates' behavior. Candidates can't stay engaged over time because of this limitation, especially those who aren't ready to apply right now but could be perfect for future jobs. On the other hand, CRM tools keep candidates warm and informed with targeted content and follow-ups.

The value of combining CRM with ATS

Because of these limitations, using an ATS solely for candidate relationship management isn't ideal. By integrating your CRM and ATS, you'll be able to leverage their strengths. CRMs can take over relationship building while ATSs handle applications and initial candidate filtering, ensuring a seamless and personalized candidate experience. An integrated CRM and ATS system ensures that no applicant is overlooked. By combining these two things, employers can build up a talent pool over time, nurture potential hires, and increase recruitment productivity.

CRM tools for recruiters : wrapping up!

CRM software is key to improving your hiring strategy. As we've explored, CRM tools like Leonar offer distinct advantages over traditional ATS when it comes to cultivating meaningful candidate relationships. Adding CRM to your ATS can transform your recruitment approach and your brand’s perception, blending efficiency with a personalized touch that attracts top talent.

To build a resilient, engaged talent pool, CRM tools are more than just an option; they are strategic necessities. So don't let this opportunity pass you by. Book a friendly demo or start a free trial with Leonar today, and revolutionize your candidate relationships. With Leonar, you're not just filling positions; you're investing in the future employees of your company and building your future.

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